Integrated Marketing Communications simple definition
Integrated is a hot word in marketing these days. Lots of people want to say they practice integrated marketing. But when you engage them on the topic it seems they’re talking about different things. Is it combining social media with search engine marketing? Coordinating online and offline activities? Or is it something much broader?
In all the chatter, it’s hard to pin down what “integrated” really means. So here’s a concise definition: Integrated Marketing is the process that leads to Brand Integrity.
When you think about it—yes, it’s really that simple. Brand Integrity is the basis of confidence among your consumer audience that your brand promise will be fulfilled. A brand that has integrity speaks with one voice and expresses a consistent brand character. It’s believable. This is obviously a benefit to any brand. The way to achieve that benefit is to present the brand in all communication channels in a way that consistently expresses the brand values. Hence, the definition above—the objective and result of true integrated marketing is brand integrity.
Okay, but—with so many agencies and marketers saying they’re doing integrated marketing, how do you tell what is or isn’t “integrated”? Here’s the test: It’s not integrated unless your brand values are reflected in everything you do.
Many earnest marketing programs fail this test—some do it in dramatic fashion. It’s not enough to say, “I’m doing print, digital, and social media—that’s an integrated program.” Each aspect must be executed in a way that faithfully reflects the authentic values of the brand, or it fails the fundamental test of integrated marketing. The recent Belvedere Vodka social media fiasco stands out as a prime example of how not to do it.
Belvedere bills itself as “The world’s first luxury vodka.” In 2010, the company turned to Arnell Group for a branding refresh, which resulted in a global campaign centred on a theme of superior quality. According to Ron Tsung, Group Account Director, “The Trust Your Instincts campaign was designed to reinforce the target’s desire to have the best. Relevant quality cues, such as ‘naturally smooth, ’ provide a highly appealing claim that is supported with several awards for smoothness.”
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I am currently getting my masters in IMC (Integrated Marketing Communications) and I really, really want to tap into the fashion industry. I want to do fashion marketing or something of the sort. Does anyone know where I could even begin with this search? I am new to Chicago so I'm not even sure of any well-known or established fashion-oriented firms.
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